Research articles for the 2019-02-26

A Mean Field Game of Portfolio Trading and Its Consequences On Perceived Correlations
Charles-Albert Lehalle,Charafeddine Mouzouni

This paper goes beyond the optimal trading Mean Field Game model introduced by Pierre Cardaliaguet and Charles-Albert Lehalle in [Cardaliaguet, P. and Lehalle, C.-A., Mean field game of controls and an application to trade crowding, Mathematics and Financial Economics (2018)]. It starts by extending it to portfolios of correlated instruments. This leads to several original contributions: first that hedging strategies naturally stem from optimal liquidation schemes on portfolios. Second we show the influence of trading flows on naive estimates of intraday volatility and correlations. Focussing on this important relation, we exhibit a closed form formula expressing standard estimates of correlations as a function of the underlying correlations and the initial imbalance of large orders, via the optimal flows of our mean field game between traders. To support our theoretical findings, we use a real dataset of 176 US stocks from January to December 2014 sampled every 5 minutes to analyze the influence of the daily flows on the observed correlations. Finally, we propose a toy model based approach to calibrate our MFG model on data.

A Retrieved-Context Theory of Financial Decisions
Wachter, Jessica A.,Kahana, Michael J.
Studies of human memory indicate that features of an event evoke memories of prior associated contextual states, which in turn become associated with the current event's features. This mechanism allows the remote past to influence the present, even as agents gradually update their beliefs about their environment. We apply the context framework from the memory literature to four problems in asset pricing and portfolio choice: over-persistence of beliefs, providence of financial crises, price momentum, and the impact of fear on asset allocation. These examples suggest a recasting of neoclassical rational expectations in terms of beliefs as governed by principles of human memory.

A Shortage of Short Sales: Explaining the Underutilization of a Foreclosure Alternative
Zhang, Calvin
The Great Recession led to widespread mortgage defaults, with borrowers resorting to both foreclosures and short sales to resolve their defaults. I first quantify the economic impact of foreclosures relative to short sales by comparing the home price implications of both. After accounting for omitted variable bias, I find that homes selling as short sales transact at 9.2% to 10.5% higher prices on average than those that sell after foreclosure. Short sales also exert smaller negative externalities than foreclosures, with one short sale decreasing nearby property values by 1 percentage point less than a foreclosure. So why weren’t short sales more prevalent? These home price benefits did not increase the prevalence of short sales because free rents during foreclosures caused more borrowers to select foreclosures, even though higher advances led servicers to prefer more short sales. In states with longer foreclosure timelines, the benefits from foreclosures increased for borrowers, so short sales were less utilized. I find that one standard deviation increase in the average length of the foreclosure process decreased the short sale share by 0.35 to 0.45 standard deviation. My results suggest that policies that increase the relative attractiveness of short sales could help stabilize distressed housing markets.

Affordability, Financial Innovation, and the Start of the Housing Boom
Dokko, Jane,Keys, Benjamin J.,Relihan, Lindsay
At their peak in 2005, roughly 60 percent of all purchase mortgage loans originated in the United States contained at least one non-traditional feature. These features, which allowed borrowers easier access to credit through teaser interest rates, interest-only or negative amortization periods, and extended payment terms, have been the subject of much regulatory and popular criticism. In this paper, we construct a novel county-level dataset to analyze the relationship between rising house prices and non-traditional features of mortgage contracts. We apply a break-point methodology and find that in housing markets with breaks in the mid-2000s, a strong rise in the use of non-traditional mortgages preceded the start of the housing boom. Furthermore, their rise was coupled with declining denial rates and a shift from FHA to subprime mortgages. Our findings support the view that a change in mortgage contract availability and a shift toward subprime borrowers helped to fuel the rise of house prices during the last decade.

Analytic solutions in a continuous-time financial market model
Zsolt Bihary,Attila András Víg

We propose a heterogeneous agent market model (HAM) in continuous time. The market is populated by fundamental traders and chartists, who both use simple linear trading rules. Most of the related literature explores stability, price dynamics and profitability either within deterministic models or by simulation. Our novel formulation lends itself to analytic treatment even in the stochastic case. We prove conditions for the (stochastic) stability of the price process, and also for the price to mean-revert to the fundamental value. Assuming stability, we derive analytic formulae on how the population ratios influence price dynamics and the profitability of the strategies. Our results suggest that whichever trader type is more present in the market will achieve higher returns.

Banking Crisis and Cyclic Shocks: A Perspective on Volatility Clustering
Sun, Mingyuan
Typical systemic risk measurement barely captures the dynamic risk characteristics of the entire banking system. Experience from past financial crises shows, major indicators in financial markets have clustered volatility during periods of economic downturns. This study focuses on the overall profile of the commercial banking sector. The Ratio of Adjusted Weighted Estimated Loss is introduced as an indicator of banking crisis to analyze volatility clustering in a system-wide perspective. The results show that crises indicator volatility tends to cluster together when distress signals begin to appear in the market. A leverage effect is also presented in the results when applying the EGARCH model. Analysis of the effect of cyclic shocks discusses the process of risk transfer from exogenous shocks to endogenous contagion. The results have implications for a better understanding of the relationship between business cycle and banking crises.

Climate Sensitivity and Predictable Returns
Kumar, Alok,Xin, Wei ,Zhang, Chendi
The paper finds that firms' exposure to temperature changes predicts stock returns. We use the sensitivity of stock returns to abnormal temperature changes to measure firm-level climate sensitivity. Stocks with higher climate sensitivity forecast lower stock returns. A trading strategy that exploits the return predictability generates risk-adjusted returns of 3.6% per year from 1931 to 2017. Further, climate sensitivity also predicts lower firm profits. Our results are robust to controlling for macroeconomics conditions and asymmetric return sensitivity to temperature changes. Overall, these findings are consistent with stock markets underreacting to firms' climate sensitivity.

Complexity in Large U.S. Banks
Goldberg, Linda S.,Meehl, April
While both size and complexity are important for the largest U.S. bank holding companies (BHCs), specific types of complexity and their patterns across banks are not well understood. We introduce a range of measures of organizational, business, and geographic complexity. Comparing 2007 with 2017, we show that large U.S. BHCs remain very complex, with some declines along organizational and geographical complexity dimensions. The numbers of legal entities within some large BHCs have fallen. By contrast, the multiple industries spanned by legal entities within the BHCs have shifted more than they have declined, especially within the financial sector. Nonfinancial entities within U.S. BHCs still tilt heavily toward real-estate-related businesses and span numerous other industries. Fewer large BHCs have global affiliates, and the geographic span of the most complex has declined. Favorable tax treatment locations still attract a significant share of the foreign bank and nonbank entities, while fewer legal entities are present in informationally opaque locations.

Dissection of Bitcoin's Multiscale Bubble History from January 2012 to February 2018
Jan-Christian Gerlach,Guilherme Demos,Didier Sornette

We present a detailed bubble analysis of the Bitcoin to US Dollar price dynamics from January 2012 to February 2018. We introduce a robust automatic peak detection method that classifies price time series into periods of uninterrupted market growth (drawups) and regimes of uninterrupted market decrease (drawdowns). In combination with the Lagrange Regularisation Method for detecting the beginning of a new market regime, we identify 3 major peaks and 10 additional smaller peaks, that have punctuated the dynamics of Bitcoin price during the analyzed time period. We explain this classification of long and short bubbles by a number of quantitative metrics and graphs to understand the main socio-economic drivers behind the ascent of Bitcoin over this period. Then, a detailed analysis of the growing risks associated with the three long bubbles using the Log-Periodic Power Law Singularity (LPPLS) model is based on the LPPLS Confidence Indicators, defined as the fraction of qualified fits of the LPPLS model over multiple time windows. Furthermore, for various fictitious `present' times t2 before the crashes, we employ a clustering method to group the predicted critical times tc of the LPPLS fits over different time scales, where tc is the most probable time for the ending of the bubble. Each cluster is proposed as a plausible scenario for the subsequent Bitcoin price evolution. We present these predictions for the three long bubbles and the four short bubbles that our time scale of analysis was able to resolve. Overall, our predictive scheme provides useful information to warn of an imminent crash risk.

Diversity and its decomposition into variety, balance and disparity
Alje van Dam

Diversity is a central concept in many fields. Despite its importance, there is no unified methodological framework to measure diversity and its three components of variety, balance and disparity. Current approaches take into account disparity of the types by considering their pairwise similarities. Pairwise similarities between types do not adequately capture total disparity, since they fail to take into account in which way pairs are similar. Hence, pairwise similarities do not discriminate between similarity of types in terms of the same feature and similarity of types in terms of different features. This paper presents an alternative approach which is based similarities of features between types over the whole set. The proposed measure of diversity properly takes into account the aspects of variety, balance and disparity, and without having to set an arbitrary weight for each aspect of diversity. Based on this measure, the 'ABC decomposition' is introduced, which provides separate measures for the variety, balance and disparity, allowing them to enter analysis separately. The method is illustrated by analyzing the industrial diversity from 1850 to present while taking into account the overlap in occupations they employ. Finally, the framework is extended to take into account disparity considering multiple features, providing a helpful tool in analysis of high-dimensional data.

Dynamic Tail Inference with Log-Laplace Volatility
Gordon V. Chavez

We propose a family of stochastic volatility models that enable predictive estimation of time-varying extreme event probabilities in time series with nonlinear dependence and power law tails. The models are a white noise process with conditionally log-Laplace stochastic volatility. In contrast to other, similar stochastic volatility formalisms, this process has an explicit, closed-form expression for its conditional probability density function, which enables straightforward estimation of dynamically changing extreme event probabilities. The process and volatility are conditionally Pareto-tailed, with tail exponent given by the reciprocal of the log-volatility's mean absolute innovation. These models thus can accommodate conditional power law-tail behavior ranging from very weakly non-Gaussian to Cauchy-like tails. Closed-form expressions for the models' conditional polynomial moments also allows for volatility modeling. We provide a straightforward, probabilistic method-of-moments estimation procedure that uses an asymptotic result for the process' conditional large deviation probabilities. We demonstrate the estimator's usefulness with a simulation study. We then give an empirical application, which shows that this simple modeling method can be effectively used for dynamic and predictive tail inference in heavy-tailed financial time series.

Fair Capital Risk Allocation
Tomasz R. Bielecki,Igor Cialenco,Marcin Pitera,Thorsten Schmidt

In this paper we develop a novel methodology for estimation of risk capital allocation. The methodology is rooted in the theory of risk measures. We work within a general, but tractable class of law-invariant coherent risk measures, with a particular focus on expected shortfall. We introduce the concept of fair capital allocations and provide explicit formulae for fair capital allocations in case when the constituents of the risky portfolio are jointly normally distributed. The main focus of the paper is on the problem of approximating fair portfolio allocations in the case of not fully known law of the portfolio constituents. We define and study the concepts of fair allocation estimators and asymptotically fair allocation estimators. A substantial part of our study is devoted to the problem of estimating fair risk allocations for expected shortfall. We study this problem under normality as well as in a nonparametric setup. We derive several estimators, and prove their fairness and/or asymptotic fairness. Last, but not least, we propose two backtesting methodologies that are oriented at assessing the performance of the allocation estimation procedure. The paper closes with a substantial numerical study of the subject.

Gig Economy: A Dynamic Principal-Agent Model
Zsolt Bihary,Péter Kerényi

The gig economy, where employees take short-term, project-based jobs, is increasingly spreading all over the world. In this paper, we investigate the employer's and the worker's behavior in the gig economy with a dynamic principal-agent model. In our proposed model the worker's previous decisions influence his later decisions through his dynamically changing participation constraint. He accepts the contract offered by the employer when his expected utility is higher than the irrational valuation of his effort's worth. This reference point is based on wages he achieved in previous rounds. We formulate the employer's stochastic control problem and derive the solution in the deterministic limit. We obtain the feasible net wage of the worker, and the profit of the employer. Workers who can afford to go unemployed and need not take a gig at all costs will realize high net wages. Conversely, far-sighted employers who can afford to stall production will obtain high profits.

Investor Experiences and Financial Market Dynamics
Ulrike Malmendier,Demian Pouzo,Vicotria Vanasco

How do macro-financial shocks affect investor behavior and market dynamics? Recent evidence on experience effects suggests a long-lasting influence of personally experienced outcomes on investor beliefs and investment, but also significant differences across older and younger generations. We formalize experience-based learning in an OLG model, where different cross-cohort experiences generate persistent heterogeneity in beliefs, portfolio choices, and trade. The model allows us to characterize a novel link between investor demographics and the dependence of prices on past dividends, while also generating known features of asset prices, such as excess volatility and return predictability. The model produces new implications for the cross-section of asset holdings, trade volume, and investors' heterogenous responses to recent financial crises, which we show to be in line with the data.

Investors’ Behavior in an Emerging, Tax Free Market
Chazi, Abdelaziz,Khallaf, Ashraf,Azad, A. S. M. Sohel,Al-Hilu, Khalil
We provide the first empirical evidence, to the best of our knowledge, on the stock market participants’ behavior in an emerging market, with a tax free environment. Our results show that UAE investors exhibit overconfidence and home bias, and tend to sell prior winners and buy prior losers. We find that investors mostly rely on familiarity and on their own information channels to make their decisions. The results also indicate that most investors are risk averse, especially after the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), which has had contagion effect on UAE markets as evidenced in our analysis. Investors attribute the contagion effect to the inability to manage systemic crisis and to problems of information asymmetry, insider trading, and lack of good governance in times of crisis. Our findings have important implications for the policy makers, and retail and institutional investors.

Market Transparency and Fragility
Cespa, Giovanni,Vives, Xavier
We show that dealers’ limited market participation, coupled with an informational friction resulting from lack of market transparency, can make liquidity demand upward sloping, inducing strategic complementarities: traders demand more liquidity when the market becomes less liquid, fostering market illiquidity. This can generate instability with an initial dearth of liquidity degenerating into a liquidity rout (as in a flash crash). In a fully transparent market, liquidity is increasing in the proportion of dealers continuously present in the market; however, in a less transparent market, liquidity can be U-shaped in this proportion and in the degree of transparency.

Meeting Global Cooling Demand with Photovoltaics during the 21st Century
Hannu S. Laine,Jyri Salpakari,Erin E. Looney,Hele Savin,Ian Marius Peters,Tonio Buonassisi

Space conditioning, and cooling in particular, is a key factor in human productivity and well-being across the globe. During the 21st century, global cooling demand is expected to grow significantly due to the increase in wealth and population in sunny nations across the globe and the advance of global warming. The same locations that see high demand for cooling are also ideal for electricity generation via photovoltaics (PV). Despite the apparent synergy between cooling demand and PV generation, the potential of the cooling sector to sustain PV generation has not been assessed on a global scale. Here, we perform a global assessment of increased PV electricity adoption enabled by the residential cooling sector during the 21st century. Already today, utilizing PV production for cooling could facilitate an additional installed PV capacity of approximately 540 GW, more than the global PV capacity of today. Using established scenarios of population and income growth, as well as accounting for future global warming, we further project that the global residential cooling sector could sustain an added PV capacity between 20-200 GW each year for most of the 21st century, on par with the current global manufacturing capacity of 100 GW. Furthermore, we find that without storage, PV could directly power approximately 50% of cooling demand, and that this fraction is set to increase from 49% to 56% during the 21st century, as cooling demand grows in locations where PV and cooling have a higher synergy. With this geographic shift in demand, the potential of distributed storage also grows. We simulate that with a 1 m$^3$ water-based latent thermal storage per household, the fraction of cooling demand met with PV would increase from 55% to 70% during the century. These results show that the synergy between cooling and PV is notable and could significantly accelerate the growth of the global PV industry.

On the Long-Run Calibration of the Credit-to-Gdp Gap as a Banking Crisis Predictor
Kauko, Karlo,Tölö, Eero
The trend deviation of the Credit-to-GDP ratio (“Basel gap”) is a widely used early warning indicator of banking crises. It is calculated with the one-sided Hodrick-Prescott filter using an extremely large value of the smoothing parameter λ. We recalibrate the smoothing parameter with panel data covering almost one and a half centuries and 15 countries. The optimal λ is found to be much lower than previously suggested. The 2008 crisis does not dominate the results. The long sample almost eliminates filter initialisation problems.

Regulatory Competition and the World Bank’s Doing Business Reports: Taiwan’s Liberalization of the Minimum Capital Requirement for Incorporation as an Example
Tsai, Chang-hsien
In 2009 Taiwan repealed the minimum capital requirement for incorporation (MCR), owing to the World Bank (WB)’s Doing Business (DB) reports. This article presents regulatory/jurisdictional competition as an analytical framework for convergence towards the liberalization of the MCR, especially in the case of Taiwan. To analyze the dynamics producing the regulatory change as a type of legal transplants promoted by intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) like the WB, this article compares the United States, the European Union (EU) and Taiwan and explores how regulatory competition creating a “law market” led to convergence towards the reduction or abolishment of the MCR. In the case of Taiwan, this article illustrates how the WB, via its DB reports, has promoted international regulatory competition leading to the domestic lobbying by anti-regulatory and exit-affected interest groups and how the law market forces may have driven the Taiwanese government to enact the legal transplants, thus converging towards the liberalization of the MCR. The findings have significant implications. Specifically, similar law market dynamics behind inter-jurisdictional regulatory competition has been at work in a federal nation like the United States, a supranational federal system like the EU, and internationally. Moreover, the Taiwanese case study demonstrates that such an IGO as the WB would take initiatives in acting as a public actor to diffuse its preferred legal model such as liberalization of red tape like the MCR across national borders, by promoting jurisdictional competition sparked by its DB indicators and rankings.

Social Sentiment and Asset Prices
Chen, Yao,Kumar, Alok,Zhang, Chendi
This paper shows that shifts in social sentiment affect stock prices. We use the Internet search volume on corporate social responsibility to capture investors’ social sentiment shifts. Stocks with the most positive return sensitivity to social sentiment attract higher institutional demand and earn positive abnormal returns. A trading strategy that exploits the demand-based return predictability generates risk-adjusted returns of 0.46% per month. Further, the return predictability is stronger for stocks headquartered in regions with lower social sentiment. Social sensitivity does not predict firm profits. Overall, these results are consistent with the stock market mispricing stocks’ social sensitivity.

Statistical arbitrage of coherent risk measures
John Armstrong,Damiano Brigo

We show that coherent risk measures are ineffective in curbing the behaviour of investors with limited liability if the market admits statistical arbitrage opportunities which we term $\rho$-arbitrage for a risk measure $\rho$. We show how to determine analytically whether such portfolios exist in complete markets and in the Markowitz model. We also consider realistic numerical examples of incomplete markets and determine whether expected shortfall constraints are ineffective in these markets. We find that the answer depends heavily upon the probability model selected by the risk manager but that it is certainly possible for expected shortfall constraints to be ineffective in realistic markets. Since value at risk constraints are weaker than expected shortfall constraints, our results can be applied to value at risk.

Technology Transactions, Announcement Effect, and Reversal: Dissecting an Anomaly
Chazi, Abdelaziz,Khallaf, Ashraf,Liu, Yi (Ian),Zantout, Zaher
We examine the short term stock price performance of firms that acquire or sell technology rights. We find significant positive announcement-period abnormal returns to the acquirers and sellers. However, the price increases reverse during the subsequent twenty trading days. We also find that the reversal is confined to a subsample comprised of stocks that witness pre-announcement price decline. Stocks that witness price run-up prior to the announcement do not reverse to original prices but lose the momentum right after the announcement-period. We believe this is caused by the combination effect of the momentum prior to-and the impact of the announcement.

The Financial Transmission of Housing Bubbles: Evidence from Spain
Martin, Alberto,Moral-Benito, Enrique,Schmitz, Tom
How do housing bubbles affect other economic sectors? We show that in the presence of collateral constraints, a bubble initially raises housing credit demand and crowds out credit to non-housing firms. If the bubble lasts, however, housing credit repayments raise banks’ net worth and expand credit supply, so that crowding-out eventually gives way to crowding-in. This is consistent with evidence from the recent Spanish housing bubble. Initially, credit growth of non-housing firms was lower at banks with higher bubble exposure, and firms relying on these banks exhibited lower credit and output growth. During the bubble’s last years, these effects reversed.

The Night and Day of Amihud's (2002) Liquidity Measure
Barardehi, Yashar H.,Bernhardt, Dan,Ruchti, Thomas,Weidenmier, Marc
Amihud's (2002) stock (il)liquidity measure averages the daily ratio of absolute close-to-close return to dollar volume, including overnight price movements, while trading volumes come from regular trading hours. Our modified measure instead uses open-to-close returns, eliminating measurement errors driven by overnight returns. Our measure better explains the cross-section of returns, producing up to 100% larger liquidity premia over the 1964--2017 period. Employing non-synchronous trading near close as an instrument, we establish that overnight returns are largely orthogonal to the price impacts of trading. Overall, we highlight the importance of avoiding such information-driven price movements to accurately measure stock liquidity.

The Norwegian Gender Balance Law. A Reform That Failed?
Strøm, R. Øystein
The Norwegian Gender Balance Law (GBL) was proposed in June 14th 2003, made into a law on December 9th 2005, and implemented from January 1st 2006 with a two-year grace period. The law mandates at least 40% board representation for both gender in PLC companies. The government gave two main promises, one that gender equality would increase with the law, the other that companies' financial performance would improve. I review research literature and add descriptive long-term developments on these dimensions. This essay concludes that the promises were not fulfilled, and that the corporate governance consequences that did follow are mostly negative. Companies attain the 40% female director target, but besides this, the law does not bring more female managers or CEOs, and the gender segregated labour market remains segregated. Today, the law applies to about 500 women, half of the number at its maximum. An unintended consequence of the legislation is the mass exodus of companies from the PLC register. I find it difficult to compare results from research on financial performance. Researchers perform before-and-after study, a natural experiment, but the reform has a long gestation period and attrition of companies from the PLC register. I conclude that the law should be repealed. In a wider context the experiment casts doubt as to the usefulness of legislation to promote gender equality in the boardroom and in society at large.

Three-Dimensional Analysis of Bank Profit with the Development of Regulatory Restrictions: Evidence From Egypt
Helmy, Ashraf,Wagdi, Osama
This study experienced the effect of different regulatory restrictions and macroeconomic status on banks’ profit in Egypt. The study used factor analysis and event study techniques on data that covered the time period from 2003 to 2016 for banking sector as a whole and individual bank unit using a sample of 13 bank units in Egypt; in addition, the study experienced the performance of common stocks of the bank units in the sample. The study found that the development of regulatory restrictions has a positive effect on the profitability of the banking sector; however, due to the differentiated characteristics of individual bank units, this effect was dissimilar for different bank units in the sample. Finally, the study concluded that if individual bank units play their development role in the economy, they will be able to meet the new set of regulatory restrictions and at the same time achieve high rates of return on their assets.

Tranched Value Securities
Zvezdin, Nikolay
Structured financial products and derivatives were one of the major financial innovations since 18th century, which improve market completeness by transforming risk-sharing mechanisms. Since then, thousands of derivative types were created, and its market has grown to over six-times greater than global GDP, but capital markets still exhibit efficiency only to a limited extent. This paper assesses the potential performance of Tranched Value Securities (patent pending) â€" a new type of financial instrument that transforms a single underlying to asymmetrically paying derivative, and has a potential to further improve capital markets by facilitating risk sharing, and satisfy a wide range of investment objectives.

Two Centuries of Commodity Futures Premia: Momentum, Value and Basis
Geczy, Christopher,Samonov, Mikhail
Using hand-collected data of commodity futures contracts going back to 1877, we replicate in the pre-sample history the well-documented cross-sectional commodity factor premia of momentum, value and basis. All three premia remain significantly positive in the additional 80-plus years of pre-sample data. Compared to a long-only passive basket of commodity futures, a long-only premia portfolio more than doubles its Sharpe in both the early and recent samples, suggesting a more optimal way to obtain portfolio’s commodity exposure while maintaining its beneficial inflation hedging property.

Where do Investor Relations Matter the Most?
Bazhutov, Dmitry,Betzer, André,Brochet, Francois,Doumet, Markus,Limbach, Peter
We test the hypothesis that the marginal benefit of investment in investor relations (IR) is greater in countries where capital market institutions are generally less developed and tailored to a more concentrated ownership structure. Using a large panel of survey-based annual IR rankings of German and U.K. companies, we find that IR quality in Germany exhibits a positive association with capital market visibility, liquidity, and firm value and a negative one with information asymmetry and uncertainty and cost of equity capital â€" and significantly more so than in the U.K. In a broader European sample, we find that the benefits of IR accrue more significantly to firms located in countries where i) corporate ownership is more concentrated and ii) capital market institutions are weaker. Overall, the evidence suggests that IR is associated with greater marginal benefits in markets where demand for this type of shareholder communication has been historically lower.